- scott lee
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Critique of Intellectual Property. Have too many powers been handed over in the name of Intellectual property?
I started this conversation because the last conversation about rethinking intellectual property turned into a debate about piracy and the media.
However, intellectual property is a broader topic that spans far more issues than how you listen to your music.
Software companies aren't just allowed to sell their product, and we aren't just forbidden from copying it. They are allowed to keep their source code secret and we are forbidden from knowing what is actually running on our computers. What does that mean for privacy now and in the future?
Biotech companies are not just allowed to patent genomes. They are allowed to keep the actual DNA sequences a secret. They are allowed to withhold that information, and the product itself from the scientific community. This impairs research in to the safety of GMOs as well as research into the functioning of life at a molecular level.
Pharmaceutical companies do their trials, the results of which are their intellectual property until they choose to submit them to the authorities.
Licensing is becoming a more common form of sale, which is essentially allowing private control deeper into the scientific community and ultimately our homes. There was a time when the rules of ownership were determined in the legislature, now they are determined by lawyers and written into licenses with little oversight or limitations.
Science is based on the process of peer review, which depends on sharing information. Unfortunately, to a greater and greater extent that information is owned, withheld and ultimately secret.
If we have to use the computers, take the medicine and eat the GMOs, don't we have a right to know the information on which our health and privacy depend.